lap steel guitar

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Hand planing is hard work. I started work on a lap steel guitar today. Planed one edge. Not looking forward to the faces.

Using hand tools more from need than desire. The garage at the new place doesn't have 220 and the 110 is coming in through knob and tube, so I don't want to stress things.

Pics of curlies and the piece of wood as it gets tooled will follow. I know, no pics didn't happen, but I have the backache to prove I did something.
 

Vaughn McMillan

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Looking forward to seeing the progress and end result, Mark. :thumb:

I made a lap steel guitar about a year or so after I graduated from high school (using my granddad's shop tools and a rented Porter-Cable belt sander.) It's made of maple and imbuia wood, and I went with a non-traditional body shape. It played and sounded good with a fairly hot humbucking pickup in it. I ended up cannibalizing the pickup off of it several years later to install in another project I was working on. One of these days I need to re-mount that pickup back in the lap steel and get some photos of it to show here.
 
Messages
1,457
Location
Central (upstate) NY
Started the face planing. Now I know why period construction timber was used rough. Yowsers, but hand planing is hard work! Showed my daughter how to read wood and make curlies. :)

Here's the first round of face planing. This side isn't done by any means. I'm tempted to grab the random orbit sander, but then I'd have to sheepishly ask a moderator to move this out of the neander forum, and I don't want to do that. So, it may well take a whole week to get this one plank face planed, but it'll get done one curlie at a time.

https://flic.kr/s/aHskYxJkEP

I wonder if anyone can guess what wood this is from such poor lighting.
 
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1,457
Location
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First face hand planing is done. Added a pic to the album. If I haven't mentioned it, hand planing is physically demanding. Maybe will take another week for the other face - need to plane both faces to find the prettiest figure.

Doing some more thinking about tuning. I may be crazy and go up to 12 strings.

EACEGBDFACEG (low to high, not married to low E - only really feel the need for the other 11), might make the B Bb and stick a thimble or steel finger pick on my left thumb or index finger to sharpen the Bb when I want the tritone. If I go to 11 or 12 strings, I may just use a pair of humbuckers, preferably trembucker width, but would start with whatever the local shop has in stock in their used gear bin.
 

Vaughn McMillan

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The 12-string approach is intriguing. I've not put much thought into that kind of thing.

...might make the B Bb and stick a thimble or steel finger pick on my left thumb or index finger to sharpen the Bb when I want the tritone...

I've only used open E 6-string tuning, but to sharpen a note I grab the string with my middle or ring finger behind the slide and bend the note up a half or whole step. Works cool for pedal steel effects.
 
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